Dogs have always been considered man’s best friend, but it’s important to always remember that dogs are wolf descendants and have sharp teeth and powerful jaws that can easily rip flesh because of this ancestry. A bite from even the most well-trained dog can ultimately be very painful and potentially cause permanent injury, and dog bite fatalities continue to be an issue across the entire United States.
Dog bites are one of the leading causes of injury and emergency room visits for children 12 and younger and more than 4.5 million dog bites are reported each year just in the United States! These injuries tend to require stitches, rabies shots and even plastic surgery within severe cases. Smaller children tend to be at the most risk of suffering a major injury via a dog bite, and these injuries also will commonly entail mental trauma.
On this page we’re going to discuss what parents should do immediately after a dog bites their child and how to begin establishing a child injury claim. Our team of expert personal injury attorneys has helped countless accident victims throughout our 20+ years as a firm, and we’re more than confident that our expertise will put you and your child in the best position to receive your fair compensation for all sustained damages.
Reach out to us today for a free consultation so we can go over the details of your child’s dog bite scenario and help guide you through the necessary initial steps towards your child’s legal recourse.
First Steps You Should Take After Your Child Is Bitten By A Dog
Once you’ve rescued your child from the dog, it’s your first and foremost duty to ensure that you and your child are taken a safe distance away from the animal and out of attack range. You should then try to thoroughly wash the wound with isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to quickly sanitize the wounded area.
But the main issue with dog bite injuries is successfully holding negligent dog owners accountable for their pet’s actions, simply because these incidents happen so quickly and many times outside of a parent’s supervision. So as your tending to your child’s dog bite wounds you also need to immediately do the following:
You can always comfort your child and tend to their injuries while professional help is on the way, so it’s crucial to get medical and law enforcement assistance to the scene of the dog bite accident as soon as possible. You’ll simply need to tell the dispatcher that your child endured a dog attack and that you need emergency medical services.
An immediate medical evaluation is imperative even if a child’s injuries appear to be minor, and this is because even small scratches can lead to infections, rabies and other types of debilitating diseases.
Identify the Owner of the Dog
It’s important that you figure out who owns the dog that attacked your child, and sometimes this means notifying the dog owner of the attack moments later due to their lack of pet supervision.
You’ll need to obtain the dog owner’s personal information, as well as their policy number and contact information for their homeowner’s insurance provider.
You should calmly and appropriately explain to the dog owner what happened and how your child’s injuries will require professional medical assistance.
Call Animal Control
This is one of the main steps you must take when a dog bites your child, because filing a complaint with your local animal control department will help ensure that your municipality begins taking the necessary measures to protect your community from further attacks.
This report will help verify the details of the dog bite incident, which is also a very important detail when undergoing an injury claim against the dog owner because the report can be utilized as evidence of owner negligence.
Gather Evidence of the Dog Bite Attack
Your ability to gather immediate evidence of the dog attack is crucial in terms of solidifying your injury claim’s success, so making sure you take the time to gather necessary evidence after the attack occurs can always go a long way in terms of the rightful compensation your child can later receive.
Your child’s bloodied and tattered clothing is one piece of strong evidence, so don’t wash these clothes or remove the blood stains.
Take several pictures and videos after the attack occurs. This can include holes in a dog owner’s fence, blood in the surrounding attack area, and if possible a picture or video of the dog. You should also take pictures of your child’s injuries immediately after the attack and throughout the ensuing recovery period they’ll inevitably undergo.
Obtaining witness statements is also a big part of solidifying a successful injury claim. All insurance providers and jurors will take an objective eyewitness’ testimony very seriously, so getting any witness’ contact information after the attack will always be a necessary initial step.
Have the Injuries Professionally Examined
It’s important to see your doctor or emergency medical professionals as soon as you possibly can, and this is partly because you’ll need your child to get a blood test to help determine whether or not the dog, and subsequently your child, has rabies.
There are several other medical complications that can result from dog bites, and you should never simply rely on the fact that a dog received a rabies vaccine.
There’s a significant chance that your child could have suffered tissue or nerve damage as a result of a dog attack, which can be somewhat more difficult to notice post-accident. You’ll need to have your child be thoroughly examined and treated in order to minimize potential scarring and future medical issues.
Calculating a Dog Bite Claim’s Damages
There’s no denying the fact that a dog attack recovery takes a lot of time and finances, which is why you’ll need an experienced dog bite lawyer to assist you throughout this process of calculating your child’s rightful compensation.
There are no statewide dog bite regulations in Arkansas, however Arkansas Code §5-62-125 makes it a misdemeanor if a person owns a dog that the person knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack and the attack causes death or serious physical injury. A number of cities in Arkansas, including Little Rock have enacted vicious dog ordinances but they vary from city to city which can ultimately make this type of child injury claim a lot more complicated. An experienced personal injury attorney will know exactly how to go about putting a monetary value to your child’s future medical expenses, as well as non-economic injuries like pain and suffering.
Some of the typical damages associated with dog bite injuries include the following:
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Physical and psychological therapy expenses
- Medication and medical supply expenses
- Travel costs for treatments
- Pain and suffering (and other non-economic damages)
- Punitive damages
Non-economic damages are important with a child injury claim, because children tend to be left with debilitating emotional problems after these types of attacks.
Your Child Deserves Their Full And Rightful Compensation
Your child should never be blamed for instigating a dog by simply being a normal, playful kid.
A negligent dog owner or their insurance provider should also never discourage you from legal action, because when a dog owner’s pet attacks a child and induces injuries there is never a valid excuse for their negligence.
Contact us today for a free consultation so we can review your dog bite scenario and help you get your child’s fair compensation.